Mr. Rogers once said, “The real issue in life is not how many blessings we have, but what we do with our blessings. Some people have many blessings and hoard them. Some have few and give everything away.”
Today, as a father and a grandfather, I reflect on the importance of blessing my children and grandchildren. While it’s certainly fun for me to bless my family with tangible gifts, those items will one day be thrown away, used up, passed on or forgotten. But it is the intangible blessings I can offer my children and grandchildren that will shape them, that they will, hopefully, keep forever.
So, how do we bless our younger generations so that they can be a blessing to the world? I think there are four primary ways:
Build our children’s self-esteem.
All children are created by God with the incredible potential for life. By building our children’s self-esteem and nurturing their gifts, we have the opportunity to help them build character, confidence and compassion.
When you look at your children or the children entrusted to you, what do you see? I hope you see an incredible amount of potential.
Yet, the reason that so many kids today are struggling is because they’ve never been told they have potential. Let’s teach children to believe in the possibilities of the future. Let’s keep investing our time and our energy into younger generations. The joy of building children up into who they are far outweighs the exhaustion.
Love our children unconditionally.
Unconditional love is unbreakable — it perseveres through trials and obstacles.
Children respond to unconditional love, though it may take years. Don’t ever suggest to your children that your love for them is based upon their behavior. Rather, let your children know that no matter what they do, your love is lasting. Be expressive, be effusive in your love for your children. Be open and transparent with your love because we never know what a day may bring. We never want our children to question whether or not they are loved.
Encourage our children’s best.
Every child needs a champion, a cheerleader. I’m so thankful for my dad, Tom Graham, who encouraged me every step of the way as I grew from a child into a young man. I can’t remember a ballgame or an event that my father was not there cheering me on. He was willing to stand in the background in order that my brother and I might take center stage. He had a profound influence on my life and I would not be the man I am today without him.
My brother and I were extremely fortunate. Many children grow up in an environment of criticism and negativity. Some of us are cynical because that is what we learned in our families when we were growing up. But we can break that cycle. When we start blessing our children with encouragement, we are encouraging generations to come. How we praise our children will ultimately be reflected in their own lives and in their own parenting. So praise and encourage them in every way possible.
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(c) The Christian Post, used with permission.